Getting to Know Jimmy V
By Laura Lee - December 26, 2022

Certain names in athletics speak to something bigger than triumphs and losses. For example, James Valvano, also known as Jimmy V. The collegiate basketball coach, had a lot of on-court success. Still, he is remembered for something more significant: his courageous battle with cancer and his indomitable spirit. But not everyone witnessed Valvano lead NC State to victory. In addition, some of us haven’t heard his outstanding ESPYs speech. In light of that, here is a summary of everything you should know about Jimmy V.

Getty images/ Tribune News Service/ Raleigh News & Observer/ Contributor

James Valvano was born in Queens, New York, and later adopted the name Jimmy V by basketball fans around the nation. After graduating from Rutgers, he turned into coaching. While playing collegiate basketball there, he even assisted the Scarlett Knights in helping them achieve some success in NIT Tournaments (back when the NIT still mattered). Valvano started at John Hopkins before relocating to Bucknell. Later, he would coach at Iona before making it big at NC State. He demonstrated his coaching skills, guiding the Wolfpack to the NCAA championship in 1983. Valvano was a pretty good coach, despite his fame going beyond sports. He compiled a 209-110 record in 19 seasons as an NCAA head coach, which is even astounding given that he never led a team with a truly illustrious history. Jimmy V led NC State to a legendary victory, two ACC Tournament victories, and two ACC regular-season victories in addition to the record. He was also recognized as the 1989 ACC Coach of the Year on an individual basis.

James Valvano is best known for his memorable speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards, despite all of his other achievements. Despite being ravaged by disease, the coach walked the stage and spoke from the heart to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Jimmy V talked about living life to the fullest. However, it isn’t easy to give his words credit. In addition to establishing a foundation to carry out cancer research, he spoke about its significance. He vowed that his mind, heart, and soul would remain unharmed regardless of whatever happened to his physical body. Everything the world needed to know about Jimmy V was revealed in that speech.